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Serving A Cruel Master

"No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  - Luke 16:13 (KJV)

WHAT IS A MASTER?


The meaning of "master" in our Lord's discourse can be summarized by a definition provided by Joseph Thayer.  Literally, "he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has the power of deciding."  It is the same Greek word which is most often translated as "lord" in the New Testament and is, as such, applied to the Lord Jesus Christ.  More simply stated, a master is that which has the ultimate control in an individual's life and is their lord, owner and ultimate possessor.  Christ made it very clear that it is impossible for more than one entity to serve in that position and any attempt to serve two masters results in a completely divided heart, mind and conscience.

To have a more adequate understanding of who we are supposed to be as Christians we must fir…

What Will You Do With God At Your Feet?

"Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him." -  John 13:3-5

The scene was like none other in history.  The Almighty God, the Father, the Creator of heaven and earth, who had come in human flesh to live among men and reconcile the world unto Himself possessing all the power and authority of Deity and worthiness of honor and praise was now stripped of His formal robe, wrapped in a towel and washing the dirt from His Disciples' feet.  It is little wonder that such an extraordinary circumstance would be met by a certain degree of apprehension and, as usual, Simon Peter was the first to voice his feelings on the matter.  

"Lord," Peter asked, "do you wash …

A Day Without Morning

"Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning." - Psalm 30:5 (ESV)

All too well I remember when evening came.  It was at a time in my life when many things were transitioning.  Many would have considered it living the dream.  I was under appointment as a Missionary with an internationally recognized and reputable body of Apostolic ministers after having already spent time in Mexico assisting a missionary work and attending language school.  Traveling from state to state on deputation afforded the opportunity of seeing sights many have only read about in books or seen in pictures.  Thousands of miles later, things were not as dreamy as they had started out to be.

A great deal of anxiety came because of financial hardships.  These were exacerbated by rumors that turned into facts.  I had become the object of ridicule and sharp criticism by a number of Pastors and Ministers for some stands that I had taken in defense of what I believed to be right.  One such…

I Was Hurt...By The Ministry

"As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth.  Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard.  Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman.  And Eli said to her, 'How long will you to on being drunk?  Put your wine away from you.'" - 1 Samuel 1:12-14
Hannah's is the heartbreaking story of a woman who desperately wanted to have a child.  No matter how her husband showered her with love and affection nothing could replace the deep longing in her heart.  It must have been terribly heartbreaking for her to watch happy mothers walking with their children, the sight of newborns held near to their mother's hearts and the daily buzz of youngsters at play in the streets around her house all the while thinking, "I will always be an observer; nothing more."  Hannah had reached a place of emotional distress akin to a nervous breakdown.

Very wisely, she ran to the House of God.   Falling to her knees ex…

"And Jesus rebuked Thomas..." Or did He?

"Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.  So the other disciples told him, 'We have seen the Lord,' but he said to them, 'Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe." - John 20:24-25

People who have never read the Bible are still familiar with the terminology, "Doubting Thomas."  This is because of the event outlined in John 20:24-29 and the stigma attached to the Apostle Thomas for his lack of faith after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  But did you ever stop to consider that his lack of faith might have been reasonable?  Think of what this man had just been through.  We do not know exactly how long Thomas had been following Jesus but we can reasonably conclude that it was a period of at least a couple of years.  What remarkable things Thomas saw in that time!

Consider back in John 11 when news came of…

Our Reaction To The Reed And The Flax

"A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory." - Matthew 12:20

The Church is often a very dangerous place to ask questions or demonstrate honest weaknesses.  The ministry of Christ was one where the frequent scene of spiritual education was a group of curious misfits gathered around the Master asking questions and processing answers.  Foolish or provoking questions were dispatched with wisdom while honest questions were received with love and answered directly.  Likewise, the drunkard, cheat and prostitute found in Christ a friend who would accept them as flawed while doing all that He could to draw them to a point of radical transformation.  Casting away the religiously self-righteous, Jesus of Nazareth bore the moniker of "a friend of sinners."

Fast forward to Christendom in the 21st century and we see that questions are often met as rebellion to authority and those with revealed flaws are viewed…